I don’t normally plan my posts. When I allow my mind to wander, it plans my posts for me.

The title ‘stop making it so personal’ is what that voice in my head often speaks to me, both on a personal level and for all the complainers around me.

Hey, not to say I too can get in a thought rut. As I write this, it is January in Manitoba, Canada. Days are short, the air is, as we like to tell ourselves here in the north, ‘nice and crisp’ which is another way of saying ‘do not expose any part of your body if you want to keep it’. Not to mention we are still dealing with Covid-19 restrictions, post-Christmas blues, and so on and so forth. We can ALWAYS find a reason to be ‘down’. But how about finding the ‘ups’?

Life – in its true sense, has its ups and downs. Think of life as falling within a bell curve. Sometimes you are headed up, and sometimes you are headed down. But what is important is that we find the mean. A normal day (when you are at the mean) is a good day. Cold outside? Go ice fishing, snowshoeing, or my personal favorite…a meditative walk…whilst listening to how the snow crinkles under my feet. You will instantly feel better. There is always a silver lining to every dark cloud, and it is our duty to find it.

Yes, we all need to find that silver lining. ‘Stop making it so personal’ is all about that. It takes you out of your head and into the present.

“Yes, we all need to find that silver lining. ‘Stop making it so personal’ is all about that. It takes you out of your head and into the present.”

via @luellajonk

As a therapist, I give clients the space to do this, to process their feelings. However, after our sessions, it is okay to process those feelings a bit more (maybe the odd journalling entry for example) but not much more than that. Instead of saying “What if?” Or “Why me?” ask yourself instead “What now?” What do I need to do right now?

People talk about MY depression, MY situation, MY trauma, My, My and MY. Oh my!! Get out of your head. How do you know what your neighbour is dealing with or that barista at Starbucks? The barista who greets you with a friendly smile she greets every single customer that enters the frick’n establishment just because it is her job. She signed up for it, and she made a commitment to smile to every miserable customer that complains their $5.00 latte doesn’t have enough foam.

It is your job to do life. You might counter with “I didn’t ask to be born” and depending on how you perceive the universe and the powers at be, that may or may not be accurate. However, my rebuttal is… it is a privilege to experience life. This world has so much beauty and wonderment, but we are often too much in our heads to experience it.

It is sad to hear my clients speak of how they may feel ashamed of their mental state. They speak of ‘their mental health’ like no one else has these same feelings or emotions. Are you kidding me? So, are you telling me no one else wakes up on a dull January morning and thinks “another day of the same old same old?’ or “It’s Sunday? Augh, that means Monday is tomorrow, that means work, that means … throw the covers over my head and make it all go away”.

Come on!! Everyone has these days. Don’t think you are so gosh darn special that it is your own thoughts. Sure, you own your thoughts but countless of others own those thoughts too. True, you are unique, but you are just experiencing some of life’s hardships. We all do. No one gets the ‘get out of jail card’ in life. And if they are telling you that – or their Instagram or Facebook platforms are telling you that – they are straight-out lying to you. In fact, the best thing you could do is get off the social media. Many of my clients speak about how much better they feel when doing so.

Are you still feeling like this is a bunch of BS?

Maybe you wake up to anxiety staring down at you. Dread. Fear. Despair. Those are all heavy emotions to feel and acknowledge, but again, you are not the only one feeling like this. Therefore, you are part of a community and just knowing that might help you get through it.

Support is ALWAYS out there. You just need to get your ass out of bed and make some advancement towards getting it. You need to make the decision that ‘you are not doing dread anymore’. You need to call a friend, a family member, a helpline, a therapist and just be honest. You will find out that you are not alone. Speaking out loud and processing those feelings will feel good. Trust me on this one; this is not my first rodeo.

Best of all – you did something. You made an advancement. You did the baby step. You did it! That is all you needed to do so thank you for doing that.

Want more baby steps? Try these 5 steps to get out of your head.

Get out in nature. I don’t care if it is minus gazillion, sleet, pelleting rain or gale force winds. Suck it up and get out there. Nature reminds you are not alone and there is something greater to admire and adore.

Do a random act of service. Random is important point here. I don’t want you picking up your teenager’s underwear from their bedroom floor. That doesn’t count. Do it for someone or something that appreciates it. Even watering a plant makes the cut.

Bust a move. Play your favorite song and dance. Crank up the tunes. I didn’t want to particularly work out this am, so rather than muddle my way through the workout app, I turned to Spotify and typed in ‘brown -eyed girl’ and well, the rest is history.

Laugh at yourself/crack a joke. Smiling is a way of biohacking your body to feel differently without necessarily changing the environment around you. When you smile, you ‘trick’ your body into believing it is safe and the world is a happy place. Hormones start communicating and chemistry starts to happen.

Deep breath. Another bio hack. You are again telling your nervous system that you are safe. To simplify, you can’t be running away from a tiger when you are taking slow, deep purposeful breaths. It is literally impossible.

There are many more I could list. Journaling, meditation, getting off of social media, etc. These are all proven to be helpful. All these tiny changes are great, but they might not be what floats your boat. So keep trying. What works for you may not work for another person. Experiment. Also, what worked for you 3 years ago may have run its course and it is time to do something different. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Final word.

As far as I am concerned, Nike has one the best slogans out there. Just Do It.